Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Return of Mike B (aka - Game Night).

Friday night was game night at Rob and Michelle's place with a nice surprise - Mike Bauerlein. Mike used to own a FLGS that we'd play at every Friday night in Mesa. Mike had moved to Missouri and he's moving back and so he and his father and daughter came by to join in the fun. I arrived ahead of the crowd, followed closely by Noah Antwiller. The two of us team up against Rob and Michelle in a team game of Ingenious to start the night off. I think this game plays best with four in teams and offers interesting gameplay in a relatively short period of time. It also mitigates some of the luck. We called the game near the end as Noah and I had done a decent job of cutting off Rob and Michelle so they couldn't score their lowest color.
Mike and his family arrived as did Matt Cullinan, so after the greetings, we pulled out Ra. Mike joined Rob, Noah, Matt and I for one of the classics. I don't seem to always do very well in this push-your-luck game, but in the first round I was willing to bid on a number of groups that put me at 5 Pharaohs - scoring me a guaranteed 5 pts each round. I spent the rest of game grabbing little bits of points and avoiding taking any loss of points. Rob spent most of the game pulling Ra tiles and hoping not to "Ra" out before getting something decent at the end of each round. In the end, I had the high score! Unfortunately for me, so did Mike. When we compared total suns (the tie breaker), of course we had the same score, so we settled for tie.
By the time we wrapped up, another load of folks had arrived - Nathan Winchester, Niecy Westmoreland, and Matt and Liz Longieliere. With a bigger group of folks, we broke into three games. I sat down with Liz, Rob, Niecy, Nathan and Mike for a game of Top Race (ASS edition).This is a great little screw-with-everyone race game (not unlike Ave Caesar, except with betting). Unlike the first time I played this game, I managed not to lose money on any of the races. In fact, I played ok. However, Rob ran away with the last two races and betting. I think I beat Nathan though, so it wasn't a total loss.
The three "Matts" were still in the middle of their Agricola game, so Amelia, Liz and I pulled out GemBlo. I had only played this once a number of years ago, but this is essentially a Blokus variant that plays 6 players. It was still fun with just the three of us, though it took us a little while to figure out what part of the board to use for three players. I threw most of my big and difficult pieces out early (playing for blocks as much as I could) and that helped me finish with only 7 stones worth of points and a win. The three of us then finished the night with a three player game of Alhambra. I was never in a position to get any purple buildings and my giant wall didn't seem to help me much. Amelia scored a ton of purple points the whole game and won by about 15 or 20 points.

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